In infinite wisdom, God built into us a 32-km racing limit, a limit imposed by inadequate sources of the marathoner’s prime racing fuelcarbohydrates. But, in human wisdom, we have decreed that the standard marathon must be 42.2 km long.
So it is in that physical “ no-man’s-land” that begins after the 30-km mark that the irrepressible appeal of the marathon lies. In those miles, as we approach the limits of human endurance, the marathon ceases to be a physical event. At this
Point runners learn something about themselves and their own views of life. Marathon runners have termed this point “the wall.”
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In this post we look at the techniques necessary to give the body its best chance over 10-km, marathon, and longer races, and we review how Arthur Newton prepared for his own races. We will see that each race is a carefully controlled experiment in which the results are essentially predicExercises; these results are predicExercises in direct relation to the care with which the athlete controls variables that determine racing performance. Only those athletes who see racing in this light are ever likely to do well on a regular, rather than a haphazard, basis.
We have looked at the variables that determine how well the body is physically prepared for the marathon, and we have discussed the variables determining mental preparation. The three most important physical variables, encompassed in the 9th and 13th laws of training and in Bruce Fordyce’s points for ultramarathon training, are as follows: whether the athlete peaked for the race, whether the athlete underwent an adequate taper, and how recently the athlete ran a major race. The important mental variables are as follows: whether the athlete has analyzed his or her self-concept and trained to improve that concept, whether the athlete has practiced mental imagery and visualized the race beforehand, and whether the athlete has controlled arousal levels immediately before the race.
In this post we refine these concepts and consider other important variables that need equally careful control.
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